Sisters from a family rooted in the travel industry, Achiraya and Chayanic Thamparipattra of Thailand were no strangers to the impact of unsustainable travel in their country. Seeing firsthand the effect of unsustainable travel in the Urban environment, they felt that there was more to offer the traveller and more to protect locally. From this concept, they started HiveSters, a hub for sustainable, genuine Thai experiences in Thailand’s largest urban areas, connecting travellers who look for authentic cultural interactions with local experts and preventing the loss of cultural heritage.
We spoke to Achiraya and Chayanich to hear more about the origin of HiveSters, the concept and the impact and really enjoyed what they told us. Keep reading to see what they said.
WHAT TRIGGERED YOU TO START YOUR BUSINESS?
We were born in a family that had a travel agency business, because of which, fortunately gave us the opportunity to travel frequently around Thailand. We saw many unsustainable activities that made us cringe and saw much of our precious culture and neighbouring communities disappearing from urban development. However, during our journeys we discovered that there are so many interesting, fun and impactful experiences in Thailand that can create sustainable impact on the country and local, yet travellers don’t yet know of them. That’s why we wanted to use our expertise and experiences in development (Chayanich) and business (Achiraya) to start a travel social enterprise that would bring impact through sustainable tourism.
WHAT DOES YOUR STARTUP DO?
We work together with local communities, social enterprises and individuals to create real Thai experiences in our sustainable travel hub, HiveSters.
WHAT'S THE IMPACT OF YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE ON THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY?
Locals who teach activities at HiveSters are by majority women who are informal workers. We hire and train them to lead travel activities. They teach travellers their expertise such as craft, cooking, art and dance, which enables them to have an extra job and earn more income each month. They use this money to support their family achieve better livelihoods. We do capacity building for local women with tourism management systems (ie. calculation of price and cost, service, the art of storytelling, trip design) which enables them to teach their expertise and knowledge to travellers. They gain more confidence and feel the pride of what they do and who they are.
Through our activities, we make cultural activities that are disappearing more accessible for travellers and the younger generation. Foreigners and Thais have opportunity to learn disappearing culture through fun activities and through which this disappearing culture is continued and maintained.
WHAT RECENT MILESTONE(S) ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
HiveSters has received the Golden Palm 2017 award, the award for innovation and responsibility in tourism from ITB Berlin and the famous german travel magazine GEO Saison for the "Newcomer prize award", as well as the highest national award from Tourism Authority of Thailand "The Award of Excellence" (Kinnari award) 2017.
We have launched our latest project, "APPEAR", which work to make six endangered cultures and communities of Bangkok reappear. Additionally, we collaborated with many private, public and international organisation partners such as United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) - Tourism Division and Tourism Authority of Thailand.
We are delighted to host HiveSters, as they are teaching the local community how to build for the future and drawing tourism off of the beaten track and into the heart of their culture. You can read more on their story and see what their platform has to offer on their website or you can come back to read our blogs to see what the sisters are up to in the coming weeks.